Convention match season begins Thursday, when the Horizon League turns into the primary 2021 postseason occasion to tip off in males’s basketball. Extra league tourneys will start subsequent week, and 31 convention champions can be topped between March 6-14. Armed with the data that a lot of earlier school basketball legends have made their presence felt in convention tournaments, ESPN.com’s skilled panel expounded on the present Wood Award nominees, and their possibilities of making a historic run throughout Champ Week.
Which 2021 Wood Award finalist might you see making a Randolph Childress-, Kemba Walker-style run of dominance a 2021 convention tourney?
Jeff Borzello, school basketball insider: Possibly that is an apparent one, however what about Cade Cunningham? He checks a number of the containers that match Kemba’s 2011 run with UConn: not a favourite to win the convention tourney, has the ball in his palms a ton, has needed to carry his staff’s offenses for stretches. There aren’t too many guys on this checklist who match that standards (Ayo Dosunmu is the straightforward reply, and I am not doing it!) — and that I can even see making a deep run of their convention tourney.
Oklahoma State has already notched wins over Texas Tech (twice), Kansas, Arkansas and Texas. In these 5 wins, Cunningham averaged 18.2 factors, 6.eight rebounds and three.2 assists. He is turning it over far too typically, and that is an actual concern, however he is taking pictures practically 44% from three on the season and has made large pictures on the finish of video games. Cunningham’s supporting forged is definitely able to taking some warmth off him, however he’ll be the one tasked with making a play on the ultimate possession in March. And he is greater than able to doing it.
Joe Lunardi, ESPN bracketologist: What about Charles Bassey of Western Kentucky? And why await the convention tourney? Bassey and the Hilltoppers are greater than adequate to win within the NCAA match, however first they need to get there. They might go a great distance towards that aim with a win Thursday night time at Houston in a well scheduled recreation for each groups. Both that or WKU can run the desk in Convention USA, a greater than affordable expectation provided that Bassey is one of the best participant within the league. Honorable point out: a wholesome James Bouknight (and never simply because he performs for a similar staff as Kemba Walker did!).
John Gasaway, school basketball author: Why is everybody responding to this query within the type of a query? I will go together with James Bouknight. If anybody can do justice to the instance set Kemba, it is going to be a high-usage UConn star with roots within the Large Apple. Nor do the parallels cease there. Just like the Huskies in 2011, this present staff appears prefer it might wrap up Large East play at or close to .500 within the convention.
Like that UConn staff of future from a decade in the past, Bouknight and his teammates may have to win a recreation or two within the Large East match to really feel solely protected on Choice Sunday. That is the type of motivation that can lead to Kemba-level performances, and Bouknight has the expertise to ship them. He’s set to go off at Madison Sq. Backyard subsequent month. No query about it.
Myron Medcalf, senior school basketball author: I will decide USC’s Evan Mobley. He has performed a few of America’s finest basketball, however a portion of the school basketball fan base hasn’t actually seen him as a result of they’re in mattress when his video games tip off. The Pac-12 match looks like an important alternative for Mobley to remind the nation why he is one of many prime prospects going into this NBA draft.
He is made 64% of his pictures contained in the arc and he is the Pac-12 chief in block proportion. I might see Mobley averaging like 20 PPG, 10 RPG, 2 BPG on his option to convention match MVP honors and a title for Andy Enfield’s squad. He is that potent. And regardless that a number of basketball people know him, he’d nonetheless shock informal followers as a result of he is new to them. This can be a nice alternative for him to dominate.